My son will officially be two years old next week. It’s insane how fast time has flown by, and I thought for sure that by this point things would change and I’d be able to move past my trauma. But it seems I’ve just moved from one part of the trauma to another.
See, waaaay back in October, my husband brought up the idea of us trying for Baby #2. I was still nursing and hadn’t even considered trying to conceive again until after his second birthday, when I would (In theory) be done nursing and have a much more easygoing child. But, because my period still hadn’t returned, (and the fact that it might take a while for me to ACTUALLY conceive) I finally talked myself into the idea of ditching the condoms. Not really a hard decision, since it was one less thing to worry about, but I’d be lying if I said I planned to actually HELP the process along. Honestly, I figured that if it happened it happened, and if not, oh well, at least we’re having fun trying.
And so it’s come to be over six months later and still I’m not pregnant, nor have I stopped nursing and I still haven’t seen my period since before I got pregnant with Hunter. It’s not really a big deal to me, and it will happen when it happens, but the fact is that eventually it WILL happen. That’s not what scares me though. I’m totally okay with getting pregnant again. I’m okay with having TWO kids to care for. What I’m NOT okay with is the “what if” scenarios that keep popping into my head.
I can thank my Anxiety for that.
I KNOW that the likelihood of any of these “what if” scenarios happening is very miniscule, but they still terrify me.
What if I accidentally conceive twins?
What if my baby is breech?
What if I actually DO develop a condition that requires management, like Gestational Diabetes or Pre-Eclampsia?
What if my baby really DOES develop IUGR?
What if the midwives in the practices don’t support my decision not to have any of the routine tests?
What if I can’t find a midwife willing to take me on because I get pregnant when there are too many other women on the wait list?
What if my labor stalls, or I NEED an intervention?
What if, after all my careful planning, I end up having to transfer to the hospital after all?
What if, What if, What if?
It’s just a never-ending line of scary questions in my head, and they pop up more times than I care to count.
I don’t know what will make it better. I KNOW that I can’t see into the future and I can’t 100% KNOW what will happen with a second pregnancy. I know that it might be different than the first one. I know that I can’t plan for every possible outcome, but it’s just so much easier said than done.
This is what the trauma of my son’s birth has done to me! It has made me so cautious, so fearful, so mistrusting of even the midwives who I might consult in the future. I could go to a different practice, but I don’t know what to expect. I could have my doula, but what if she’s not available again?
I am terrified to even think about getting a DUE DATE for this hypothetical future baby. I don’t want to be pressured into an induction. I don’t want people to say I’m measuring too small, or put any sort of timeline on my child’s growth.
Basically I’m just scared.
I wasn’t scared the first time. I was so confident and so certain that I could have the natural birth I wanted. And now my fear consumes me whenever I think of doing it all over again. It’s irrational; I got through a long labor and delivery, and I had a completely natural birth. This SHOULD be okay with me. I should be able to think “hey, I did it before I can do it even better next time” but instead I think “what if the next baby is in a different position, or I have complications” and it just sucks!
It sucks because when I get pregnant again I’m going to be a nervous wreck the whole time. I will TRY not to be, but it will be SO hard when I now know how easy it is for the system to screw me over. I will constantly be questioning what my midwife tells me. I will be wary of any test or procedure. I will likely spend my final months in a state of constant anxiety, praying that no complications develop to risk me out of a home birth. Because then I’ll have to fight even harder to do what I want. I might have to choose between fighting or just doing it all on my own, without telling anyone my intentions.
I know a lot of people might suggest I wait a bit longer before thinking about a second baby, and maybe they’re right. But I also know that my trying/not trying strategy is pretty much the ONLY way I could ever BE ready to have another kid. My anxiety pretty much forces me to either let fate decide for me or just never ever do it. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m letting fate decide whether or not I get pregnant. But that’s ALL the chance I’m willing to take.
I finally discussed my feelings with my husband the other day, though not to the full extent. I basically told him just how upset and traumatic laboring at the hospital actually was. I told him about the nurse who harassed me about getting my blood drawn while he was downstairs getting things from the car. I told him how horrible it was being pulled from the tub and how my body was telling me that I needed to lean OVER the bed and that being ON the bed made things worse. He finally concluded that most of those things were “hospital protocol” and I said “yes, and that’s why I will never have another baby there”. It was the first time he actually understood, and probably also the first time I was able to talk about it without immediately getting upset. I mean, I still got upset, but not over the top hysterical at the mere suggestion that any of these things might just have been policy.
So maybe I AM healing, little by little. I still have a lot to process and I know that it’s going to be harder to deal with my feelings as the birthday draws closer, but at least I finally got to the point where I can talk to my spouse without fearing that he’s just going to roll his eyes and dismiss all my feelings as “hysterical”. And no, he wouldn’t actually do that. Just like he won’t leave me (as he has said countless times that I have nothing to worry about), but that doesn’t mean that the fear isn’t still there. That’s the trouble with anxiety though, it makes everything 10 times harder because all the “what if” scenarios start circling in your brain and make you doubt yourself.